Paul Somerville

Northern Ireland

When I enlisted into the British Army In the mid 1980s I found myself leaving a Godly home in Belfast and embracing an environment far from the Christian upbringing that I had experienced. The only ‘Christian’ contact I had during my service days was when I was home on leave and even then my church attendance was out of mere duty to my mother rather than a heartfelt desire to worship God. It was whilst on leave after a tour in the Falkland Islands that I found myself in the Sandes soldiers' centre in Palace Barracks, Holywood where I met a Scripture Reader named Sinclair Quinn who chatted to me about the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we parted company, he challenged me about my ‘standing before a Holy God’.

I returned to Germany several days later with this conversation ‘buzzing around’ my head, but I had no time to ponder over it any further as I was put on a cycle of guard duties. It was on one of these duties, that I began to seriously assess my own life. Deep down I was really troubled, for I knew that as a non-Christian, I did not have a future. A scripture text came to mind that I had learned as a youth, ‘Jesus said…I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ John 14 v 6

I had heard the gospel story many times before but that evening the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin and I repented. I not only received a great Saviour by faith that night, but also a great peace, a great joy and, a great prospect. I have never got over this experience and I never shall.

After my service in the army was completed I returned home where in 1992 I became a part-time Scripture Reader and then in 2004 I entered full-time service with SASRA as Area Representative for Northern Ireland. I have been wonderfully supported throughout these years by my wife Gillian and we have a son called Aaron.

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